I stood in the shower letting the water beat down over my head dreading the morning ahead of me. It would be my third court appearance before the judge, and after she let me off with a warning and a hefty fine the last time I was there, I doubted she would be as lenient today. It was all so fucking stupid anyway.
Over the last year I’d become an insomniac so whenever I couldn’t sleep I would climb in my car and go for a drive to pass the time. I enjoyed the rush I would feel when I drove fast. Really fast. Big fucking deal. It’s why I bought a fucking sports car. Don’t they have REAL criminals to catch? I’m not hurting anyone. Given my family’s history, I’ve NEVER had a drink and I don’t do drugs. For the last year, driving at breakneck speeds was the only thing that made me feel alive. It was the only thing that made me feel anything.
The last year. A year ago TODAY.
I quickly shook that line of thinking from my head, not wanting to go down that road right now, and finished washing up in the shower. I didn’t realize how long I’d spent under the water until I walked into my bedroom to get dressed and saw the time. I quickly pulled on one of my designer suits, cursing the fact that I didn’t have time for a cup of coffee, and took off out the door. I ended up making it to the courthouse with five minutes to spare. My lawyer was waiting for me on the sidewalk and from the disapproving look he was giving me I guessed he didn’t appreciate the fact that I’d obviously sped there based on my tires squealing when I zipped into the parking lot.
We walked into the courtroom right on time and remained standing as the judge entered the courtroom. She sat down behind the bench and glanced down at the docket in front of her. From the way her eyebrows raised up and her lips formed into a tight thin line, I’d be willing to bet she didn’t approve of seeing me before her again.
“DOCTOR NORTHMAN,” she barked out, “Did you miss me so much you just HAD to do something that would get you in my court again?”
I had several different replies on the tip of my tongue ranging from flirty to downright nasty, but I figured she was asking a hypothetical question so I kept my mouth shut. She read over the police report while shaking her head in disbelief. I couldn’t believe it either when I’d been caught considering I was going around 120 mph down the interstate. Stupid helicopters. When she finally looked up her eyes narrowed while staring at me and I could practically SEE the wheels spinning in her head.
She looked down at me over the rim of her glasses and said, “It would seem you have too much time on your hands and rather than having you fill that time with speeding all over our great state I think you should put it to better use. Obviously a warning and paying a fine weren’t enough of a deterrent therefore I’m sentencing you to 1000 hours of community service to be performed at the free clinic downtown with you working there 16 hours a week at a minimum.”
By the look on her face she was pleased at what had to be the look of horror on my face. “But I’m not a family practitioner,” I protested. “I’m a plastic surgeon!”
“Bully for you Doctor Northman. I assume you performed your residency in a hospital, correct?” After I nodded she continued, “Well then, I’m sure it will all come back to you. If you’d like, you could always opt for door number two and serve 1000 hours in the county lock up, but it will not be served 16 hours a week. It’s your decision.”
Fuck! Like that would be a hard choice. “Fine, I’ll work at the clinic.” She still looked very pleased with herself and it was all I could do to not glare at her when she said, “I thought so.” Her eyes took on a much harder look when she finished with, “You won’t have any options if you appear before me again Doctor Northman. Am I making myself clear?”
“Yes your honor,” I acknowledged like a properly chastised school boy. The only thing my lawyer had been good for was getting the judge to allow me to keep my driver’s license, but it would be gone if I was caught speeding again.
I couldn’t get out of there fast enough and I was in my car pealing out of the parking lot in no time. I avoided getting on the interstate knowing I would be hard pressed to not floor it and stuck to the city streets just trying to clear my head.
I’d been dreading today knowing it would bring back all of the memories of what happened a year ago. I’d done a pretty decent job of forcing the thoughts from my mind for the most part, but I knew there would be no way around it today.
I turned up the radio and tried to immerse myself in the music, but when I found myself pulling into the cemetery I knew it was pointless since my subconscious was obviously working against me. I chose to not fight it and parked my car, resigned to deal with it now that I was finally there. I hadn’t been back since the funeral. I knew I should’ve come and I had tried to, many times, but I could never go through with it before now.
I got out of my car and slowly made my way over to where she was buried. Along the way I’d noticed flowers that were left at many of the graves scattered throughout the cemetery and felt bad for not thinking to bring any with me. It was just one more thing I couldn’t do right.
I felt my eyes well up with tears as soon as I read her name on the headstone. Pamela Northman. It was the first time I’d seen it since it wasn’t ready until several weeks after the funeral. June 11, 1991 – June 12, 2009. Eighteen. She was only fucking eighteen years old. The events of that day flooded my mind and I fell to my knees letting the memories beat me down like I deserved.
Pam had been my younger, and only, sibling. I was fourteen when she was born, so we weren’t that close growing up, but I still loved her even if I never said the words out loud. We came from parents that were well off financially, but they were mean spirited alcoholics and as soon as I turned eighteen I took off and never looked back.
When Pam was fourteen I got a call from her in the middle of the night screaming and crying so much that I couldn’t understand anything she’d said. When I got to our parents’ house there were police cars everywhere and I found Pam sitting in an ambulance covered in blood. That evening our parents had another one of their drunken pissing contests, but it had apparently gone too far. Our father shot and killed our mother before turning the gun on himself. Pam had heard the gunshots from her room, where she had retreated to during the fight, and the blood on her clothing was theirs.
She had always had a strong personality, but I knew it was her ‘brave’ face that she put on whenever she was around other people. She was much more quiet and reserved when it was just the two of us and we were very much the same in that respect. Neither one of us ever let anyone get too close after learning early on, thanks to our parents, the damage that could be inflicted if we let that happen.
After our parents died I took her home with me and became her legal guardian. She never talked about what happened after that first night I’d come to her and I never asked. I figured she just wanted to forget it so I didn’t bring it up. After some time had passed we fell into our own routine with her going to school and me building my practice. I wasn’t around much, allowing myself to get caught up in my work as well as spending my nights with many of my grateful, and newly improved, clients. I took care of Pam financially, but I didn’t take care of her emotionally not realizing at the time that she needed that the most.
Pam’s high school years were difficult for her with her always getting in trouble at school, whether it was her fighting other students or skipping classes days at a time. I knew she was acting out but I never faulted her for it knowing everything she’d been through. If I was honest with myself, I also knew it was because I was too busy living my own life to bother finding out what was wrong with hers.
I had come home that fateful night a year ago in the early morning hours after having spent the evening with a newly buxom brunette I’d worked on a few weeks earlier. I normally went straight to my room, but as soon as I walked into the house I could feel that something was wrong. After checking the lower level of the house I went upstairs and peeked into Pam’s room. She was lying on her bed with the ear buds of her iPod stuck in her ears and I almost shut the door thinking she was sleeping until I heard the rasping breaths leaving her body.
When I got closer I shook her shoulder trying to wake her up and when she didn’t stir I knew something was wrong. That was when I saw the empty pill bottle lying on the floor next to her bed. I picked it up and saw from the label that it had contained 60 pills of vicodin and had been prescribed to her by me. I’d never prescribed anything for her and that was my first and only clue that Pam had stolen one of my prescription pads. Her breathing had stopped and I called 911 while immediately starting CPR trying to resuscitate her lifeless body. When I lowered my mouth to hers to blow air into her lungs one of her ear buds fell out of her ear and I could hear a haunting instrumental version of ‘Happy Birthday’ playing on her iPod.
Realizing, only then, that I had forgotten her birthday the tears were flowing freely from my eyes as I continued to try and save her, begging her to fight, to live, but it was too late. She was already gone. When the paramedics arrived they cut off her shirt to try and shock her heart into restarting and that’s when I saw the cuts on her body. She had been cutting herself and I never knew.
I was a doctor and I should’ve been able to save her. To heal her, both inside and out, but I failed at both and now I was left with a gaping wound inside of me that couldn’t be seen or fixed. I tried not to think about it, but in the late night hours I would lie awake in bed unable to think of anything else. That night haunted my dreams every time I closed my eyes so I avoided sleeping as much as I could. I no longer had the desire to date the vain materialistic women that had occupied my time before that night, but I kept my practice just to fill up the hours of the day. I inherited enough money from our parents that I wouldn’t have to work, but I knew I needed something to do or else I’d be left reliving that nightmare in my mind all day every day.
It took me a while before I could bring myself to stand and walk away from her grave. I had wanted to ask for her forgiveness, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I didn’t think I deserved it, so instead I told her the only thing I wished she had known, what I wished I had told her, I love you.
It was three days later on a Saturday that I walked into the free clinic and saw her for the first time.
Saturdays were always so busy at the clinic. I volunteered my time, working there every weekend, out of the gratitude I felt for the people there that had helped me two years earlier. Bill had been my boyfriend at the time and we had been out at a bar having drinks when we were confronted by his ex-girlfriend Lorena. At least I thought she was his ex, but apparently they’d still been seeing each other unbeknownst to me. My temper got the best of me and I called her a few choice names, humiliating her, before I went into the bathroom to cool off. On my way out of the bar I told Bill to shove it and stormed outside by myself intending on catching a cab home.
I had only walked a few blocks when she came out of nowhere and attacked me with a knife. Lorena sliced each side of my face before I could raise my hands to protect myself and then she proceeded to cut up my arms and torso before a passerby stopped their car and pulled her off of me. I was bleeding profusely and I would’ve died if I hadn’t been just across the street from the free clinic. They rushed me inside and took care of me until I could be transported to the hospital.
Lorena went to jail and I never saw Bill again, not that I wanted to. I had scars from each cut of Lorena’s knife as well as the ones left inside from both her attack and Bill’s betrayal. I doubted I would ever get over it completely because I was reminded of both every time I saw my reflection. I started saving as much money as I could spare to have plastic surgery to try to minimize the scars, but I was a long way away from having enough. A part of me wasn’t even sure that I wanted to be rid of the scars. They’d become my metaphorical suit of armor keeping the outside world away from me while also reminding me of what can happen when you let someone in.
I had gotten used to the looks I got from people seeing me for the first time with a lot of them having the gall to ask what had happened to me even though they were complete strangers. I had been so outgoing and free spirited before, but now it made me keep my head down and avoid having eye contact with anyone unless it was absolutely necessary. I also hadn’t dated anyone since that time, not that I was asked out by anyone anyway. My ability to trust someone with my heart had been taken away and I wasn’t sure if I would ever get that back.
I was a librarian Monday through Friday, but on weekends at the clinic I was a whatever-needed-to-be-done kind of volunteer. I answered phones, made sure people signed in, answered whatever questions I could, handed out brochures, filed, typed, made coffee…you get the idea. It made me feel better helping those that had helped me, even if it meant that I had to see the spot where I was attacked every time I came here.
I had been jotting down a message on a notepad when I saw someone in my peripheral view come to a stop in front of the desk I was sitting at. Without looking up I asked, “Can I help you?”
His voice was a rich baritone when he replied, “I’m Doctor Northman. I’m here to, uh…volunteer?”
I’d seen the memo on Doctor Northman and knew he was involuntarily volunteering his time because we had to keep track of his hours spent here and report back to the judge each week. I had no idea of what he had done to get in trouble, but I didn’t call him out on it and instead I stood up and motioned for him to follow me. After I had him sign in on the doctor’s log I gave him a quick tour of the clinic showing him where everything was and set him up with a few exam rooms. I explained that there weren’t enough volunteer nurses all of the time so he would have to do most of the work himself, but I would check-in the patients and bring their files back to him whenever he was ready to begin. I was just about to walk away when I heard him say, “Excuse me, I didn’t get your name.”
I looked up for the first time to see his face and my breath caught in my throat. He was hands down the most handsome man I’d ever seen. His blond hair was pulled back at the nape of his neck and based on the length I’d guess that it would just brush the tops of his broad shoulders when it was down. He had a strong jaw line and high cheekbones set directly under the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. He was wearing a green scrubs shirt and matching pants with a stethoscope draped over the back of his neck and even though the scrubs were baggy I had no doubt there was something mighty fine to be had underneath it all.
I was sure my mouth was gaping open and yet I couldn’t seem to make myself stop. It was only when his one eyebrow quirked up that I was able to finally spit out, “Sookie. Sookie Stackhouse.” I felt the blush rising from my chest and I immediately looked down and turned tail where I took off down the hallway before he could say anything else.
I could feel my heart fluttering inside of my chest just thinking of how handsome he was but I quickly shook the thoughts from my mind knowing he was WAY out of my league, and would’ve been even before I was covered in scars.
I studiously avoided looking him in the eye for the rest of the day as I shuffled people back and forth to the exam rooms he was using and before I knew it the day was over. The next shift of volunteers had arrived so I went back to tell Doctor Northman I was leaving for the day and when I rounded the corner headed towards the exam rooms I ran right into his chest and an “Unf” sound came out of my lips. The scent of his cologne washed over me while his arms shot out in front of him grabbing my shoulders to steady me on my feet and I could’ve sworn I felt an electrical charge as soon as his skin touched mine.
Without thinking, I looked up to see him staring down at me and I was once again stunned into silence getting lost in the deep blue of his eyes. I didn’t know him at all, but I couldn’t miss the sadness behind them and I fought the urge of wanting to wrap my arms around him and telling him everything would be okay. I caught myself before acting on that thought and took a step back while still maintaining our mutual gaze and said, “I’m so sorry.” And I was, for running into him as well as for whatever it was that made him look so sad.
“Me too,” was his only reply. I wondered if we were having the same internal conversation as well, but I simply said, “I’m done for the day. The next shift has arrived, but I’ll be back tomorrow.” I wanted to know if he would be back too and before I could ask he answered my unspoken question with, “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then.” The corners of his mouth twitched up into an almost-smile causing mine to do the same.
I couldn’t stop thinking about Sookie all day long. Something about her, from the moment I first saw her, called out to me and I felt the tightness in my chest release its hold on me for the first time in a year. She was beautiful, even with the scars on her face, but it there was more to it than that. I just didn’t know what it was. If I was a spiritual person I would’ve thought my soul had found its other half, but I didn’t subscribe to that kind of mumbo jumbo so I was left without a way to describe how she somehow commanded my attention.
I spent the majority of the day seeing patients while simultaneously analyzing Sookie’s every move, or rather her indifference towards me. When she first looked at me she seemed shocked or stunned, though I don’t know why, but the rest of the day she never once looked me in the eye. I know because I would stare at the door as soon as I could hear her coming my way with another patient in tow. She would simply show them into the exam room and place their file on the desk before turning to leave again. I stopped myself, more than once, from reaching out to try and stop her from leaving but I always managed to catch myself in time. All I knew was that I was drawn to her like a moth to a flame.
When she ran into me in the hallway I was immediately engulfed in her scent and I’m pretty sure my eyes fluttered in response. When my hands grabbed onto her shoulders I felt a zing shoot up each of my arms and when she looked up at me I was transfixed by her stare. Just looking into her eyes I felt a sense of peace wash over me and I wanted to pull her into an embrace more than I wanted anything else in the world.
I wasn’t trying to look down her blouse, but with my height advantage I couldn’t help but notice the scars she had on her chest in addition to her face. The long sleeves and slacks she wore covered the rest of her body and I wondered if they held scars as well. I couldn’t imagine what must have happened to her, but I knew the scars I could see were done by a knife. Whoever had stitched her up didn’t do a very good job because her scars could have been much less visible if they were closed the right way. I wanted to offer to do that for her but I couldn’t figure out a way to bring it up, nor did I know if that was even something she wanted to do.
When she said she was sorry, I assumed for running into me, I said out loud what I’d been thinking in my head, “Me too.” I felt a shudder travel down my spine at the thought of her being hurt like that and I wanted to tell her how sorry I was that she had to go through that kind of trauma. She seemed so delicate and soft spoken that I wanted to wrap her up in my arms and protect her from the world so she’d never be hurt like that again.
Just being in her presence relaxed me and I didn’t want to let her go, but I had no choice when she took a step back. I was elated inside when she said she’d be back the next day so I made sure I would be there as well. I thought about the day I’d spent at the clinic while I drove home that night and I actually felt pretty good about what I’d accomplished that day. It was, for the most part, normal routine visits but the people I treated were nothing like the clients I saw at my practice. These were real people with real symptoms that consisted of more than a few wrinkles and pockets of unwanted fat and I actually had a good time using my head again as I made my diagnosis. I had a sense of fulfillment that I hadn’t had in a long time.
That night I climbed into bed and slept through the entire night for the first time in a year. It was the first night I dreamt of Sookie Stackhouse. It wasn’t a sexual dream, but we were a couple nonetheless and being with her made me feel whole. Maybe for the first time ever.
I was nervous going to the clinic the next morning knowing Sookie was going to be there. I knew dream Sookie wasn’t the same as ‘real’ Sookie, but the dream I had of her the night before had seemed so real that I was confused by the lack of her presence when I woke up. I resolved that I would try to find out more about her today and perhaps even see if I could get her to join me for lunch. I never had problems getting a woman to agree to go out with me, but something about Sookie made me weak in the knees so I wasn’t counting my chickens just yet.
She was sitting at her desk when I walked in and when she looked up at me and smiled I felt my heart skip a beat. It was like she radiated pure light and I felt the warmth spread through me like I’d just stepped into the rays of the sun. A responding smile crept onto my face for the first time in a long time when she said, “Good morning Doctor Northman.”
Too formal, “Please, call me Eric.” Her smile got even brighter when she said, “Alright, Eric.” Hearing her say my name was like music to my ears and I started to seriously question what was wrong with me. I’d never reacted to a woman this way and I had so much baggage I couldn’t even begin to hope that she would be willing to come anywhere near it.
We both stood there just smiling and looking at each other, encased in our own little bubble of existence, until someone walked up asking Sookie a question. I set up in the same exam rooms I’d used the day before and when Sookie showed up a few moments later with a patient in tow she made sure to meet my gaze and smile before walking away again.
It seemed that the clinic was never NOT busy, but there was a definite lull in traffic a little after one o’clock so I took the opportunity to go find Sookie. My heart sped up and my palms were sweaty in response to the nervousness I was suddenly feeling when I finally found her sitting at her desk, but as soon as she looked up into my eyes I felt at peace once more. Before I could lose my nerve I said, “Things here seemed to have slowed down for a bit so I was thinking of grabbing a bite to eat. Would you care to join me?”
I held my breath waiting for her response and I could see her contemplating her answer as she chewed on her bottom lip which made my nerves come back in full force. I had no idea of what I would do if she said ‘No’, so I was thankful when she finally said, “Okay.” Sookie suggested a small deli around the corner from the clinic and when we set off on foot across the street I noticed her visibly shudder the closer we got to the sidewalk. It was summer in Louisiana with the temperature hovering in the 90’s and she was again wearing pants and a long sleeved shirt so I knew she wasn’t cold.
“Are you okay?” I asked before I even knew my mind had formed the words.
She physically shook herself and answered, “Yes,” in a voice so small that I wouldn’t have known she had said anything if I wasn’t looking right at her. My bullshit meter was sounding off loudly, but I didn’t know her well enough to try and pry so I went along with it when she changed the subject by asking how I liked working at the clinic so far.
“I like it,” I answered and was surprised that I actually meant it. I guessed my facial expression gave me away because she said, “You seem surprised. Why is that?”
We had reached the deli at that point so we placed our order and once we were seated with our food I finally answered, “I just didn’t think I WOULD like it.” I debated on telling her the reason why I was there in the first place, but I quickly decided that I needed to tell her the truth if I had any hope of trying to have a real relationship with her.
“I was given the option of performing 1000 hours of community service by working at the clinic or spending that time in jail. It wasn’t a difficult decision to make.” I saw her eyes widen at my confession and I hung my head in shame waiting for her response.
“Do you mind if I ask what it was you did to be put in that position?” I lifted my head to see her chewing on her bottom lip again and she quickly followed up with, “I’m sorry if that’s too personal, you don’t have to answer.”
I watched the lines form on his face as he furrowed his eyebrows while having an internal debate over answering my question. I was about to change the subject when he inhaled deeply and replied, “I got caught speeding.” There had to be more to it than that, so I said, “1000 hours of community service or jail seems a little harsh for just speeding. Were you going THAT fast?”
He smirked a little when he said, “Yes, I was.” The smirk disappeared when he continued, “I’ve had trouble sleeping for the last year so I would fill my time speeding up and down the interstate. It was the third time I appeared before the judge so she wasn’t happy to see me again.”
I wondered if something happened that would cause his insomnia but I didn’t ask. And Eric didn’t strike me as the cocky daredevil type, but it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong about someone. That thought had me subconsciously tracing the scar along the right side of my face and I didn’t realize I was doing it until he asked, “Would you mind telling me how you got those scars?”
It wasn’t like it was a big secret since everyone that worked at the clinic knew what had happened to me so I told him. I waited for the pity to show up on his face, but he only looked sad. “I can’t imagine what that must have been like for you. Is that why you were upset when we crossed the street in front of the clinic?” I could only nod in response. I watched his eyes travel over the scars on my face and then to the ones on my chest that weren’t covered by my shirt causing me to reactively raise my hand to cover the exposed skin on my chest and my head to fall forward slightly so may hair hung down over my face while my eyes dropped to the table in front of us.
I watched his hand reach across the table and grasp the hand I had resting next to my plate. I lifted my eyes to see him staring back at me and he said, “You don’t have to hide your scars Sookie, you’re beautiful regardless.” I felt the tears well up in my eyes because I could see that he actually meant what he’d said. No one, outside of my family, had ever told me I was beautiful and I never realized it until he had said the words.
This man, who was handsome enough that he could be with any woman he chose, thought I was beautiful. The tears trickled down from my eyes as I wondered how that was even possible. I felt a small hole in the protective armor around my heart open up just a little as I quickly brushed the tears from my face. I was stunned when he said, “My specialty is plastic surgery. And, like I said, I think you’re a beautiful woman but if they really bother you I could make them less visible.”
I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t know if I was ready for that yet or if I’d EVER be ready. All I could come up with was “Maybe.” Thankfully, he didn’t say anything more about it and we finished our lunch. Eric told me about his practice and I told him what I did for a living. I discovered we had a mutual love of books and we discussed different authors and genre’s and he laughed when I admitted to having a fondness for trashy romance novels. He made me feel better by admitting to having an extensive comic book collection.
After we got back to the clinic I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Eric was the first person I’d met since the ‘incident’ that had somehow worked his way past my protective shield and I was surprised that it didn’t scare me as much as I thought it would. My heart fluttered in my chest when he smiled at me each and every time he saw me for the rest of the afternoon and I was feeling a little sad at the end of the day knowing I wouldn’t be seeing him again until the following weekend. I didn’t have the self-confidence to ask him out myself so when it was time to leave I found him in the exam room and merely said, “Well, I guess I’ll see you next Saturday?”
The smile that had been on his face disappeared with my question and I wondered if he didn’t plan on coming back to the clinic until he said, “I hope I’m not out of line, but would you like to go to dinner with me sometime? Tonight even, unless you have other plans?”
“No, I don’t have any other plans, I’d love to!” I couldn’t get the words out fast enough and was rewarded with another smile from him. We agreed that he would pick me up around 7 o’clock and I wrote down my address and phone number for him. He wrote down his number for me as well and I practically floated away on cloud nine out of the clinic.
There was a knock on my door at exactly 7 o’clock and I opened it to find Eric standing there dressed in a pair of black slacks and a blue button down shirt that matched his eyes exactly. The collar was open and it fit him perfectly showing off his broad chest and flat abs. I swallowed the drool that formed in my mouth before it had a chance to spill out and quickly grabbed my purse so I could follow him out to his car.
He opened the door so I could get into his cherry red corvette and as soon as he got in I said, “I can see how it would be easy to speed in this car.”
I’d only meant it as a joke but I could tell it bothered him so I immediately said, “I’m sorry. I was just joking.” He looked over at me and smiled softly saying, “I know. There’s just more to it than that.” He didn’t say anything else about it until we were seated at the restaurant. My heart broke for him when he told me what happened with his sister and how he felt responsible for all of it. I reached out and grasped his hand, rubbing soothing circles over his skin telling him that it wasn’t his fault. I had obviously never met his sister but I would think that she wouldn’t want him to torment himself like he was and I told him as much.
I felt the majority of the weight I’d been carrying with me since Pam’s death lift away with Sookie’s words. I knew it wasn’t just the words she’d said, but the fact that SHE was the one to say them. She was able to soothe me in a way I’d never felt before and when I was rewarded with a simple yet sweet kiss at her doorway at the end of the night I actually felt happy. It was such a foreign feeling to me that I couldn’t place it right away.
The next few weeks seemed to fly by. I spent every weekend working at the clinic with Sookie and we would talk on the phone or see each other several times during the week. Our relationship was slowly progressing forward in the intimacy department, but I was more than willing to wait until she was ready to take the next step.
I had opened up more about my childhood and the circumstances that brought Pam to live with me and with every touch, every hug, and every kiss from Sookie the wound inside of me healed a little more. It was on the Friday before our unofficial two month anniversary that I stopped at the cemetery on my way to having dinner at Sookie’s place. I’d bought two bouquets of flowers, one for Sookie and one for Pam. I placed it next to her headstone and apologized for every wrong I’d ever committed against her. With tears falling down my face I finally found the strength to ask for her forgiveness and in that moment I felt it. I could feel her presence surrounding me and hear her voice saying the words I’d never hoped to deserve, I forgive you.
Sookie could tell something had happened as soon as she saw my face and without saying a word she pulled me over to her couch and sat me down. She crawled onto my lap and wrapped her arms around me, running her fingers through my hair as I cried against her chest. I had no idea of how much hurt I’d kept bottled up inside until it all came pouring out.
When the crying subsided she pulled away and wiped the tears from my face. She looked into my eyes, her own filled with concern, and I opened my mouth to try to say something but I couldn’t seem to find the words yet. I just needed to be here with her, to feel her body against mine and she seemed to understand because she silently leaned forward and placed a soft kiss directly over my heart before placing another on my lips.
She didn’t pull away and my hands found their way into her hair as my tongue swept into her mouth. The overwhelming need I felt for her poured into that kiss and she responded in kind pressing her body against mine as she tightened her embrace around me. I hardened underneath her instantly and when she started grinding her hips against me we both moaned in unison. Her hands pulled up the hem of my shirt and she pulled back slightly as she pulled it over my head with me doing the same with hers.
I was temporarily frozen by the sight of her ample breasts encased by a red lace bra in front of me and I knew I could never surgically match the perfection God had graced her with, but her thoughts were somewhere completely different and she immediately raised her hands up to cover her scars.
I took her hands in mine and pulled them away from her body saying, “No Sookie. You’re beautiful.”
Eric leaned forward and kissed along each and every scar I had whispering the word beautiful over and over against my skin and with every pass of his lips, every whisper of his words, I felt them disappear from my mind. I had certainly hoped our relationship would become a sexual one as well, but I’d thought we would be in a darkened bedroom so he couldn’t see my disfigured skin. No one other than the doctors I’d been to had seen it since the assault, but he really did make me feel beautiful.
His hands reached around and unlatched my bra from behind before pulling the straps from my arms. He kissed along my chest over to one breast, swirling his tongue over my hardened peak and I gasped while arching my body towards him when he pulled it into his mouth. My fingers dug into his back as I continued to grind on top of him and my whole body trembled when he growled against my skin.
The urgency from before quickly returned and our hands began running all over each other touching everywhere we could possibly reach. I pulled his lips back to mine and mumbled out, “Bedroom,” into his mouth. Eric wrapped his arms around me as he stood up and carried me to the bed with my body wrapped around his. He laid me in the middle of the bed, never breaking our kiss, and I unbuttoned his pants pushing them down as far as I could with my hands before I finished the job with my feet.
Eric sat up so he could remove my pants as well and I could feel the heat on my skin everywhere his eyes travelled over my body, but I didn’t get to ponder that for very long because he immediately dropped down in between my legs and I watched as he kissed his way up my inner thigh before hovering over my center. I barely had time to inhale before his eyes locked onto mine as he leaned forward and parted my folds with his tongue licking along their length before repeating the process again and again. My eyes fought to roll back in my head but Eric’s gaze wouldn’t let them go so I continued to stare into the endless pools of his blue eyes watching as he systematically reduced my body to a quivering pile of jello. I felt the coil low in my body burst and I screamed out with its release while my vision blurred to nothing more than flashes of swirling color and light.
I felt him kissing his way back up my body and when my vision returned his face hovered directly above mine. Our eyes locked onto each other again as he slowly pushed his way into my body. I felt my eyes widen at first, shocked at his size, but he took his time allowing my body to adjust to his until he was fully sheathed within me. A small gasp escaped my lips as I felt my pulse throb against him inside of me and my muscles twitched along his length still recovering from my orgasm.
Eric leaned forward and with his lips pressed against my own he whispered, “Beautiful,” once more as he slowly withdrew from my body before pushing his way back in. Our hips continued to rock against each other and with each thrust of our bodies I felt the remaining armor I’d held onto crumble away until there was nothing left standing between Eric and I. The overwhelming love I felt for him filled me up until tears spilled out of my eyes and I gripped his hips harder, pulling him into me as I lifted my hips towards him, needing to be as close to him as I could possibly be.
I felt him swell even larger inside of me and the sensation was enough to push me over the edge once more. I cried out his name as my walls locked down trying to keep him inside of me and his body tensed as he yelled out with his own release spilling out deeply inside of me.
I couldn’t believe the intensity of the emotions coursing through my body as Sookie and I made love. And that what it was, making love. It was a first for me and I never wanted or needed anything as much as I wanted and needed her. This beautiful angel beneath me was far more than I deserved, but I knew I would do anything to keep her. I could see the emotions on her face as clearly as if she’d said the words aloud. I wiped the tears from her eyes while feeling them form in my own eyes as I told her, “I love you.”
Sookie and I were married on Christmas Day and I closed my practice to start working at the clinic full time. She accompanied me most days in the beginning but when our daughter Pam was born the following year she stayed home to take care of her. She never brought up wanting me to fix her scars, and although I no longer saw them when I looked at her I couldn’t help but asking why. I can’t describe the depth of love I felt, both from and for her, when she looked me in the eyes and said, “You already did.”